Barry Jenkins to direct ‘The Lion King’ sequel

Yes, you read that correctly. Barry Jenkins, writer and director of Moonlight and If Beale Street Could Talk is headed to the house of mouse to make a sequel to the 2019 “live action” Lion King movie.

Huh.

Deadline has the scoop on the deal, which is definitely one that has me scratching my head. On the one hand, a big-budget animated feature for a high corporate boss doesn’t seem like a natural fit for Jenkins. On the other hand, a black creative working with a primarily black cast on what could easily be made into a black story fits super well.

Here’s Jenkins speaking to Deadline:

“Helping my sister raise two young boys during the ’90s, I grew up with these characters,” Jenkins said. “Having the opportunity to work with Disney on expanding this magnificent tale of friendship, love and legacy while furthering my work chronicling the lives and souls of folk within the African diaspora is a dream come true.”

So, sure, I guess? If nothing else, directing a Disney tentpole that will almost certainly make a bazillion dollars (assume we make it to the release day) will, of nothing else, give Jenkins the monetary backing he might need or want to write his own ticket from now on. The guy already has an Oscar, might as well give him unlimited money and see what happens.

No release date for this yet, but there’s a script and a director so keep your eyes peeled for updates.

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